American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap: Unnatural Selection

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In the conclusion of American Horror Story: Freak Show’s Halloween two-parter, Edward Mordrake continued to audition candidates to join his “coterie of companions” and finally decided that one freak was indeed pure enough to be given a golden ticket to his shadowy netherworld. But, with Ethel already ruled out, would it be Paul the Illustrated Seal? Amazon Eve? Pepper?!? Or the performer you’d have least expected? Read on and find out.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS | One by one, Edward visited each freak and demanded that they regale him with their sob stories. True to batty form, Elsa at first still thought that he was the Svengali that Esmeralda predicted was going to take her to the top. When at last it dawned on her that he was not a talent manager but the legendary bogeyman, she protested, “I’m not one of them”… even as Edward’s minions pulled off her artificial legs.

Of course, Elsa eventually relented, relating the tale of her stint as a creatively sadistic dominatrix in Germany in 1932. “Even in that world,” she noted, “I was a star” – one who attracted not only clients but an audience. Watchers, she called them. (Sorry, Giles.) But Edward wanted more – he wanted to hear about her legs. So she went on…

After becoming a blue movie star for the Watchers, Elsa was drugged and filmed having her legs chainsawed off. “They told me I was one of the lucky ones,” she said, since she survived the snuff film. And ironically – or, since this is Elsa, maybe not – she seemed more bitter about the fact that the movie made her a star as it ended her career than about her grisly double amputation.

Hearing all this, Edward’s spare face decided, “She’s the one.” And she was more than willing to cross over to the other side. She even begged him to take her. But just as he was about to do so, he heard music…

TURN THAT CLOWN UPSIDE DOWN | After running out of gas biking back to camp, Jimmy and Esmeralda just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time to spot Twisty tackling Bonnie during another escape bid. Following them to the clown’s hell on wheels to see if he could help the girl, the lobster boy – d’oh! – wound up getting both himself and the fake clairvoyant captured by Dandy.

When Jimmy and Esmeralda came to, Richie Rich was hosting his own makeshift circus – hence, the music Edward heard – and beginning to saw the “psychic” in half. Lunging at Dandy, Jimmy saved Esmeralda and yelled for the “audience” (Bonnie, Corey, Mike) to run.

In the woods, Esmeralda told the kids to fetch the police while she kept Dandy distracted. And, as much as Jimmy dislikes the cops, they really couldn’t get there too soon. Twisty was just about to stab him when Edward appeared, and forced him to remove his mask and tell his tragic tale.

Back in the day, the simpleton was a popular children’s clown and a real sweetheart. But he never liked the freaks in his carnival – they were cruel, so cruel that they drove him away with molestation accusations. Lost, he returned to Jupiter, where his mother had died, and tried to make a living turning junk into toys. Failing at that – at the very store whose staff he later murdered – he swallowed a rifle and shot himself. Poor thing couldn’t even get that right!

And what about the kidnapped children? Edward asked. “I saved them from the evil, mean freaks,” Twisty explained. And from their parents. And gave them candy. Put on shows for them. He even got them a pretty babysitter! And that was that. So overwhelmed by the goodness of the clown’s intentions was Edward that he announced, “You have caused the demon to weep,” and stabbed him, thus adding him to the collection of souls.

Shortly thereafter, when Dandy returned to the bus, he discovered Twisty’s lifeless body and affixed the clown’s chilling smile to his own face.

WARMING TREND | The morning after, Jimmy lied to the police that he hadn’t gotten a look at Twisty’s killer (even though he had seen Edward) and reminded the detective that somebody still had to pay for Meep’s death. Nearby, Esmeralda told another officer that Jimmy had saved the day.

Back at camp, Jimmy revealed that Edward had claimed his freak and the curfew had been lifted, and Esmeralda thanked him for his heroism with a kiss on the cheek. But, before anyone could heave a sigh of relief, a mob arrived. Elsa assumed that they were coming to run them off. Instead, Mike’s dad shook Jimmy’s hand, and some kind of freak/normals potluck appeared to break out. It was exactly the kind of acceptance Jimmy had always dreamed of! Elsa, too, in a way: The lobster boy’s sudden popularity meant that she could sell out that evening’s show!

Oh, and about that show… the Tattlers assumed that Elsa had rearranged the lineup so that they were warming up for her. But it was even worse than Bette and Dot imagined: “You’re warming up for the pinheads,” the chanteuse gleefully revealed. And, though the performance was SRO, Elsa made an exception for Stanley when he introduced himself as Richard Spencer from Hollywood.

NEW ATTITUDE | Finally, back at the Mott mansion, Dora – decidedly unimpressed with Dandy’s Twisty half mask – reminded him that Halloween was over and told him again that he didn’t scare her, so he could just stop trying. And maybe it was the mask, or maybe it was her crack about her having to wash out his skid marks, but he finally did what we all knew he inevitably would – he slit her throat, then, psycho that he is, lowered his mask and laughed.

OK, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you sorry to see Twisty’s story end so soon in the season? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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36 Comments
  1. Joey says:

    I’ll say it. Twisty nooooooooo.

    John Carroll Lynch was absolutely fantastic tonight. One of the best episodes of AHS to date.

  2. Fan says:

    I hope Meep’s ghost kills Dandy.

  3. Jesse says:

    Finn Wittrock is the prettiest pretty boy I’ve ever seen in my life; I just don’t buy his character as a killer (especially against Miss Pattie – you know she would have cut him in a real fight). Also, the article says Edward chose to take Meep because Edward was overwhelmed by Meep’s good intentions, but I thought Edward said something along the lines of Meep not even being aware of the darkness inside of him (and thus punishing him for it? Idk)

    • Janna says:

      You mean Twisty? I agree that Edward chose him because he (Twisty) couldn’t see the darkness inside himself. It wasn’t his good intentions.

    • Sally says:

      Looks are deceiving..we all thought twisty was evil because of his looks and he wasn’t. I LOVED this episode and I am loving this season of American Horror Story..best season of them all (in my opinion)..

    • CountryQueen says:

      Ted Bundy was a pretty boy too.

    • CountryQueen says:

      That’s also the point of his character and the show – he doesn’t look like a freak, but he is probably the biggest freak of them all. Ryan Murphy is trying to show that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover. Perhaps you were just being facetious though.

  4. lisa says:

    Great episode! Really made the season start to take shape

  5. nikki says:

    Buffy reference. Love it.

  6. Scott says:

    Easily the best episode so far this season, and one of the best of the series.

  7. abz says:

    One of the best episodes this seasons and probably a fave in the series as a whole.
    I’m so shocked they killed off Twisty so early. I was like “well now what are they gonna do with the rest of the season”. I feel like what we saw of him wasn’t enough and I wanted to see more. John Carroll Lynch was perfect.
    The only negative of the episode for me was seeing the whole predictable Jimmy/Esmerelda romance. On the plus side, should make for some fun animosity between Dot and Esmerelda.
    Matt Bomer next week!! Beyond excited to find out what twisted character he’ll be playing! I’ve been trying to figure out how exactly they’re gonna freak him up, but I just can’t seem to. I’ve read rumours he might play an intersex character or perhaps the one in the opening credits where that doll has a third leg.

  8. jeff says:

    Amazing episode! It was creepy and scary, the way the show should be. I loved twisty’s backstory and I can’t wait to see what Dandy does as the new Twisty.

  9. Kevin says:

    ridiculously strong episode; loved everything top to bottom

  10. Aleksa says:

    Anyone else surprise themselves by getting near-teary at the Twisty story? Who’d have thought that was possible.

    • Sally says:

      I felt so bad about Twisty’s backstory…all he wanted to do was make children happy and now he’ll find happiness (hopefully) with Edward and his lost souls.

  11. Matt C. says:

    I never thought I’d feel sorry for a killer clown, but AHS made it happen. Those Twisty flashbacks were devastating. I’m disappointed he’s already gone just 4 episodes into the season, but I have to admit, it would be hard to find him scary after learning his backstory. Dandy, on the other hand, is a little lunatic, so it’ll be interesting to watch his dark side unfold.

    • Caroline says:

      I agree with you 100%. His story was terribly sad and heightened by the fact that he was “simple” without the ability to truly understand the impact of why you can’t kill people, even because of heroic intentions. I’m choosing to believe that seeing his face whole at the end meant it was more of a Valhalla situation. You saw the hands of the others reaching to help him up so it was as though he has finally found a sort of “family” again. Overly sentimentalized? Probably! Oh well.

  12. Jen says:

    This episode gave me hope for the rest of the season. It pushed it out of being “meh”. Now the ball is rolling. I’m so GLAD they didn’t have another musical number this week. They’re very contrived and distracting to the story. They take you out of “horror” mood. I’m also glad that Dennis O’Hare is finally getting a sizable (pardon the pun) part this season. He’s such a great actor.

  13. Jared says:

    I LOVE Dandy..like way too much!

  14. Walkie says:

    Awful season. What the heck is it about? Maybe they will locate a plot at some point.

    And huge mistake not having Kathy Bates in every episode. I watch it for her.

    It’s not scary and it’s not interesting.

    • Sally says:

      What??!!! Not scary and not interesting..I think NOT!! Best season of American Horror Story!!! Poor Twisty..

    • CountryQueen says:

      What’s it about? Proving that you cannot take someone at face value for one thing. Beautiful does not mean nice. Freakish does not mean they are bad inside. Kathy Bates is pretty great, but so is Jessica Lange and Angella Bassett (she only had a short scene last night – but it was a hoot!), and many many more.

  15. katedfw says:

    RIP Twisty! Never thought I would say those words!

    Fantastic episode!

  16. This was a great, great episode.
    Wow, Jessica Lange was outstanding, she’s the queen of this series, she always manages herself to be the very best, but, this episode had the very best of each actor.

    Twisty was magnific, i feel sorry for not seeing him in future episodes, but the guy that plays Dandy it’s going to be the perfect villiain to the rest of the season.

    Freakshow was slow at the firt 3 episodes, but with this one, we can say already that this is going to be a ver good season, and a freak one.

  17. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    Twisty the killer clown a GOOD GUY?!………….His background story was sad but @ the same time scared the bejesus outta me when they first showed him! Overall great ep. I wish they kept him LONGER so he can kill that annoying ass Dandy. Hell the Legendry Patti LaBelle could’ve kill him herself if given the chance. R.I.P TWISTY!

  18. Stefan says:

    Noooo Twisty!! ;( What a turn of events – now everybody seems to be crying over the horrifying clown. Dandy is a total phsyco, but I’m not sure if he’ll be a good villain by himself. Twisty was my favorite part of the show this season. Hope this doesn’t mean it will get worse now.

  19. shboogies says:

    Now without Twisty this season REALLLLLLLY sucks.

    • roki says:

      he just get killed at the end of the episode. how do you even know that the next episode will be suck? you don’t even watch the next episode just yet

  20. aar says:

    Esmeralda was not in the box. she was next to jimmy. dandy was going to cut the kidnapped girl in half.

  21. Jen says:

    The whole thing with Elsa’s legs getting amputated was horrific. I couldn’t look. Crazy show but I love it.

  22. Jen says:

    Also sorry to see Patti LaBelle go, She was the only non-freak in the whole show. I’m wondering if Mama is next.

  23. Dave says:

    Ryan Murphy has done an interview with ew and he stated that twisty will triumphantly return as well as Edward mordrake before the season is over

  24. Sonya says:

    Dandy killed Patti!!! That was awful. Hopefully the murder and mayhem will continue in the next few episodes.

  25. robert says:

    twistys coming back. trust that